The Redbird Report 09/21

ASTROS 18, CARDINALS 1: "Not much to say about that one, boys," manager Tony La Russa told reporters Thursday. "That wasn't fun at all."

There have been worse things happen to the defending world champion Cardinals this season, such as a player (right-hander Josh Hancock) dying in a car crash, but none worse on the field.

Five Cardinals pitchers, including infielder Aaron Miles, gave up 23 hits, only matching a season high, but the 18 runs were a season worst. Miles allowed the fewest runs of the five, giving up just two runs on a homer by rookie catcher J.R. Towles, who set a Houston franchise record with eight RBIs just his sixth big-league game.

Towles had had only one RBI and three hits in 13 at-bats entering the game.

Right-hander Braden Looper (12-11) lost at home for the first time since before the All-Star break. He had been 4-0 with two no-decisions in that span. Looper continued his pattern of pitching poorly at night. He is 5-10 with a 6.47 ERA under the lights.

ASTROS 18, CARDINALS 1: The Cardinals' 13th loss in 15 games was their worst drubbing of the season. It also marked the 20th time they had given up 10 runs or more in a game. At 10 games under .500, the Cardinals fell back that far for the second time this season.


--LF Chris Duncan underwent surgery to repair a bilateral sports hernia Thursday. Duncan is expected to be able to resume athletic activities in 10 weeks, the Cardinals said.

--1B Albert Pujols, who has a strained left calf, feels a bit better, manager Tony La Russa said. Pujols, though still limping, hopes to play in Sunday's home finale. There is no timetable for CF Jim Edmonds, out with a groin injury.

--INF Aaron Miles, besides pitching the ninth inning, also made his first career appearance in the outfield Thursday.

--The Cardinals now have been outscored by 106 runs for the season, the worst differential in the National League.

--Losing their 81st game, the Cardinals can do no worse than finish at .500. More likely, they will suffer their first losing season since 1999.

BY THE NUMBERS: 12 -- The number of games under .500 (33-45) the Cardinals are against non-division opponents with three games remaining against Philadelphia and one against New York.

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